International Labour Day

International Labour Day

Every year 1st May is observed as May Day and is also known as International Labour Day worldwide.

  • The day is observed as an occasion to commemorate the contributions of labourers and the working class.
  • The International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency, works towards setting international labour standards.

Key Points

  • History and Significance:
    • United States:
      • Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement in the United States in the 19th Century.
        • However, the USA and Canada celebrate Labour day on the first Monday of September, every year.
      • Labour day was designated as a day in support of workers by trade unions and socialist groups in the memory of the Haymarket affair of 1886 in Chicago, USA.
        • Haymarket Affair was a peaceful rally in support of workers which led to a violent clash with the police, leading to severe casualties. Those who died were hailed as “Haymarket Martyrs”.
      • Workers’ rights violations, straining work hours, poor working conditions, low wages and child labour were the issues highlighted in the protest.
    • Europe:
      • May Day was first celebrated on 1st May, 1890, after it was declared by the first International Congress of Socialist Parties in Europe in July 1889.
    • USSR:
      • The Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc nations started celebrating the Labour day after the Russian Revolution, 1917.
        • New ideologies such as Marxism and Socialism inspired many socialist and communist groups and they attracted peasants and workers and made them an integral part of national movement.
  • India:
    • The first Labour’s Day was celebrated in 1923 in Chennai. This day was observed by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan.
    • On this day, communist leader Malayapuram Singaravelu Chettiar asked the government that 1st May should be considered as a national holiday to symbolise the efforts and work of the workers.
    • This day is also known as Kamgar Divas, Kamgar Din and Antarrashtriya Shramik Divas in India.

Constitutional Provisions Related to Labour

  • Indian constitution provides numerous safeguards for the protection of labour rights. These safeguards are in the form of fundamental rights and the Directive principle of State policy.
  • Article 14 commands the State to treat any person equally before the law.
  • Article (19) (1) (c) grants citizens the right to form associations or unions.
  • Article 21 promises protection of life and personal liberty.
  • Article 23 prohibits forced labour.
  • Article 24 prohibits employment of children below the age of fourteen years.
  • Article 39(a) provides that the State shall secure to its citizens equal right to an adequate means of livelihood.
  • Article 41 provides that within the limits of its economic capacity the State shall secure for the Right to work and education.
  • Article 42 instructs the State to make provisions for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
  • Article 43 orders the State to secure a living wage, decent conditions of work and social and cultural opportunities to all workers through legislation or economic organisation.
  • Article 43A provides for the participation of workers in Management of Industries through legislation.

Legal Provisions

  • Parliament has passed 3 labour code bills aimed at labour welfare reforms covering more than 50 crores organized and unorganized workers in the country.
  • These three Bills are
    • Social Security Code, 2020.
    • Code on Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code, 2020
    • Industrial Relations Code, 2020

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